Literary Terms Project List

animated writing gif

Week 1–

Fiction

Character

CHARACTER: A person (sometimes a group of people, an animal, or a physical force) invented by an author who has an impact on the outcome of the story. Character motivation must be consistent; the character must be convincing and lifelike.

PROTAGONIST: the hero, chief character, or force in the work which the reader wants to succeed

ANTAGONIST: a force or character opposing the protagonist who tries to stop the protagonist from reaching his desired goal

FOIL: a character who serves by contrast to emphasize the qualities of another character

CHARACTERIZATION: The process of revealing  the personality of a character in a story is called characterization. A writer can reveal character by

  1. letting us hear the character speak
  2. describing how the character looks and dresses
  3. letting us listen to the character’s inner thoughts and feelings
  4. revealing what other characters in the story think or say about the character
  5. showing us what the character does–how he or she acts
  6. telling us directly what the character’s personality is like: cruel, kind, sneaky, brave, and so on.

The first five ways of revealing a character are known as indirect characterization. When a writer uses indirect characterization, we have to use our own judgment to decide what a character is like, based on the evidence the writer gives us. But when a writer uses the sixth method, known as direct characterization, we don’t have to decide for ourselves; we are told directly what the character is like.

Characters can be classified as static or dynamic. A static character is one who does not change much in the course of a story. By contrast, a dynamic character changes as a result of the story’s events.

Characters can also be classified as flat or round. A flat character has only one or two traits and these can be described in a few words. Such a character has no depth, like a piece of cardboard. A round character, like a real person, has many different character traits, which sometimes contradict each other.

Conflict

CONFLICT: The relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist. The conflict can be threefold: 1) conflict between individuals, 2) between the character and circumstances intervening between him and a goal he has set himself, and 3) conflict of opposing tendencies within a single individual’s mind.

There are five basic types of conflict:

  • MAN vs. MAN: One character in the story has a problem with one or more of the other characters.
  • MAN vs. SOCIETY: A character has a conflict or problem with some element of society–the school, the law, the accepted way of doing things, and so on.
  • MAN vs. HIMSELF: A character has trouble deciding what to do in a particular situation.
  • MAN vs. NATURE: A character has a problem with some natural happening: a snowstorm, an avalanche, the bitter cold, or any of the other elements common to nature.
  • MAN vs. FATE: A character has to battle what seems to be an uncontrollable problem. Whenever the problem seems to be a strange or unbelievable coincidence, fate can be considered the cause of the conflict.

In an external conflict, a character struggles against an outside force. An internal conflict takes place entirely within a character’s own mind. An internal conflict is a struggle between opposing needs or desires or emotions within a single person. Many works, especially long ones, contain both internal and external conflicts.

Theme

THEME: It is a statement about life or universal truth that a particular work is trying to get across to the reader. In stories written for children, the theme is often spelled out clearly at the end when the author says “…and so, the moral of the story is ”

In more complex literature, the theme may not be so moralistic in tone, or at least not so clearly spelled out.

The theme is NOT the same as the subject of a work. The subject of a work can usually be expressed in one word or two: love, childhood, death. The theme is the idea that the writer wishes to reveal about that subject. The theme is something that can be expressed in at least one complete sentence. For example the theme of Romeo and Juliet can be stated this way: “Love is more powerful than hatred.”

The theme is not usually stated directly in the work of literature. Most often, the reader has to think of all the elements  of the work and use them to make an inference, or educated guess about what the theme is.

Week 2– (Week of September 19-23)

PLOT

PLOT is a system of actions in a purposeful sequence represented in a work. Aristotle defines plot as that which has a beginning, middle, and an end. But it is more complex than that. An outline showing the “bare bones” of a plot would include the story’s basic situation or exposition; the conflict, or problem; the main events (including complications); the final climax, or moment of great emotional intensity or suspense, when we learn what the outcome of the conflict is going to be; and the resolution, or denouement.

Image result for plot diagram

Please copy the image above (image from English Corner)

  • EXPOSITION: background information on the characters, setting, and situation, usually found at the beginning of a story
  • RISING ACTION: begins when the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist is set in motion and ends with the climax
  • CLIMAX: the turning point or moment of highest intensity in the work when either the protagonist or antagonist must succeed
  • FALLING ACTION: the action which works out the decision made in the climax–the story unravels
  • RESOLUTION (Denouement): the portion of the play or story where the problem is solved, the struggles are over, and we know what is going to happen to the characters– providing closure.

SUSPENSE: an anxious uncertainty about what is going to happen to characters with whom the reader has established bonds of sympathy

FORESHADOWING: A writer’s use of hints or clues to indicate events that will occur later in the story. The use of this technique both creates suspense and anxiety for the reader.

SURPRISE: Surprise occurs when the events that occur in a literary work violate the expectations we have formed. The interplay between suspense and surprise is a prime source of the power of plot

FLASHBACK: The writer interrupts the chronological sequence of a story to relate an incident which occurred prior to the beginning of the story.

FLASH-FORWARD: The writer plays with timing by jumping ahead days or years into the future.

UNITY OF ACTION: The plot has unity if it is a single, complete, and ordered action in which none of the parts is unnecessary. The parts are so closely connected that without one of the parts the work would be disjointed.

Week 3–(Week of September 26-29)

Point of View

POINT OF VIEW is the outlook from which the events in a work are told.

The methods of narration are:

  • OMNISCIENT NARRATOR: In the omniscient (or “all knowing”) point of view, the person telling the story knows everything there is to know about the characters and their problems. This all-knowing narrator can tell us about the past, the present, and the future of all the characters. He or she can even tell us what the characters are thinking. The narrator can also tell us what is happening in other places. In the omniscient point of view, the narrator is not in the story at all. In fact, the omniscient narrator is kind of like God telling the story.
  • THIRD-PERSON LIMITED NARRATOR: A third person narrator relates the thoughts and feelings of only one character. This narrator plays no part in the story, but they share their observations with us.
  • FIRST PERSON NARRATOR: A character in the story, often the protagonist (or main character), narrates the story in the first person. You can tell it is a first person narrator when they use the pronoun “I.” We get to know this character well, but we can only know what this character knows, and we can observe only what the character observes. All of the information we get about the events in the story must come from this one character.
  • UNRELIABLE NARRATOR:  An unreliable narrator does not always know what is happening in the story, or he or she might be lying to telling us only part of what is going on. It is fun to find clues that your narrator is unreliable. Sometimes, your narrator may be crazy!

Setting

SETTING: the setting tells us where and when a story takes place. Setting can include the locale of a story, the weather, the time of day, and the time period (past, present, future). Setting can even include people’s customs–how they live, dress, eat, and behave. One purpose of setting is to provide background–a place where characters can live and act. A good setting helps make a story vivid and memorable. To create a believable setting or one that can make us feel pleasure, mystery, or fear, the writer must select the right images. Images are words or phrases that call forth a response from our senses–sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste.

IMAGERY: Language that appeals to the senses. Most images are visual–that is they create pictures in the reader’s mind by appealing to the sense of sight. Images can also appeal to the senses of sound, touch, smell, and taste, or even to several images at once. Imagery is an element in all types of writing, but it is especially important in poetry.

LOCAL COLOR: the use of details which are characteristic of a certain region or section of the country. Mark Twain’s books Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are classic examples of local color.

Technique

TONE is the author’s attitude toward his subject matter. The tone might be solemn, formal, playful, or serious; it is created through word choice and sentence structure.

MOOD: It is the feeling a piece of literature evokes in the reader. happy, sad, peaceful, etc.

ATMOSPHERE: Created by the tone pervading the literary work, atmosphere shapes the reader’s expectations about the plot (whether the events will be happy, sad, disastrous, etc.).

Week 4 (October 3-6)

Dialogue

DIALOGUE: The conversation between characters in a story or play. Dialogue is an important factor in characterization and moving the plot forward. Dialogue forms the structure of most plays.

DICTION: A writer’s or speakers choice of words. Diction is an essential element  of a writer’s style. Some writers use simple, down to earth, or even slang words (house, home, digs); others use ornate official-sounding, or even flowery language (domicile, residence, abode). The connotations of words are an important aspect of diction.

CONNOTATION: All the meanings, associations or emotions that have come to be attached to some words, in addition to their literal dictionary definitions, or denotations. For example, skinny and slender have the same literal definition, or denotation–“thin.” But their connotations are completely different. If you call someone skinny, you are saying something unflattering. If you call someone slender, you are paying him or her a compliment. The British philosopher Bertrand Russell once gave a classic example of the different connotation of words: “I am firm. You are obstinate. He is a pigheaded fool.” Connotations, or the suggestive power of certain words, play an important role in creating mood and tone.

VOICE: The writer’s or speaker’s distinctive use of language in a text. Voice is created by a writer’s tone and choice of words. Some writers have such a distinctive voice that you can identify their works on the basis of voice alone. The detached objective tone and simple language of Ernest Hemingway, make his works easily recognizable.

SYMBOL: Person, place, thing or event that stands for itself and for something beyond itself as well. For example, a scale has a real existence as an instrument for measuring weights, but it is also used as a public symbol for justice. Other familiar public symbols are the cross that symbolizes Christianity, the six-pointed star that symbolizes Judaism, the star and crescent that symbolizes Islam, and the bald eagle that symbolizes the United States. These are public symbols that most people know, but in literature, writers sometimes create new private symbols that can be understood only from their context. One of the great symbols in literature is Herman Melville’s great white whale, used as a symbol of the mystery of evil in the novel Moby Dick.

Week 5 (October 10-14)

Using Primary and Secondary Sources:

PRIMARY SOURCE: A primary source is a firsthand account. In primary sources, writers present their experiences, opinions and ideas. Primary sources include autobiographies, letters, interviews, oral histories, eyewitness news reports, essays, editorials and speeches.

SECONDARY SOURCE: A secondhand account, often based on more than one viewpoint. In secondary sources, writers summarize, interpret, or analyze events in which they did not participate. Examples of secondary sources include encyclopedias and other reference works, textbooks, biographies, many magazine articles, and most newspaper articles.

Steps To Evaluating Informational Materials:

  • Analyze Sources- First, decide whether the work is a primary or secondary source. then look for themain idea of the work. Ask yourself, “How does the author support the main idea? Who is the author’s audience? What is the author’s purpose?
  • Evaluate Sources-Look for clues indicating whether the source is presenting objective facts or subjective opinions. Is the factual information accurate? With primary sources espceially, check the accuracy of the information by reading other sources. Evaluate the author’s opinions as well. Do you agree with the author’s message?
  • Elaborate-When you elaborate, you add information, usually in the form of details. You might present your own ideas on the topic, or you might do further research. Check to see if a secondary source has a bibliography or list of works cited. These contain other useful sources of information.

Nonfiction

NONFICTION is a form of writing that is based on fact and reality; it is not created in the mind of the writer.Nonfiction is prose writing that deals with real people, things, events, and places. The most popular forms of nonfiction are biography and autobiography. Other examples include essays, newspaper stories, magazine articles, historical writing, scientific reports, and even personal diaries and letters.

Content

TRUTH is that which conforms to fact and reality. Truth may be either objective or subjective depending upon the person’s point of view.

OBJECTIVE TRUTH: The author presents situations or the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and actions in a detached, noncommittal manner.

SUBJECTIVE TRUTH: The author incorporates personal experiences into his writing or projects into the narrative his personal disposition, judgments, values, and feelings.

BIAS: Bias occurs when an author prejudices the audience in favor of one side of an issue by not covering the topic fairly. Bias should be avoided in nonfiction writing.

Week 6:

Types of Nonfiction

BIOGRAPHY: an account of a person’s life, written or told by another person. A classic American biography is Carl Sandburg’s multi-volume life of Abraham Lincoln. Today biographies are written about movie stars, TV personalities, politicians, sports figures, self-made millionaires, even underworld figures. Biographies are among the most popular forms of contemporary literature.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY: An account of the writer’s own life. An example of a book length autobiography is Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela. Malcom X, Willie Nelson, Ellen Degeneres, and Benjamin Franklin all have autobiographies, among others.

DIARY: a personal, daily account of an individual’s experiences and feelings

DOCUMENTARY: an authoritative and artistic (usually film) presentation which depicts the facts about an event or social, historical or cultural phenomenon

ESSAY: a fairly short nonfiction selection in which the author expresses his thoughts and feelings on any subject he chooses to discuss

FORMAL ESSAY: a relatively impersonal essay in which the author writes as an authority and expounds on the subject in an orderly way

PERSONAL ESSAY: the author assumes a tone of intimacy with his audience, tends to deal with everyday things rather than with public affairs or specialized topics, and writes in a relaxed, self-revelatory, and often whimsical fashion

HISTORY: a recording of past events, persons and places

JOURNAL: a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use

JOURNALISM records and presents topics of current interest to the public through news media; journalists present facts and describe situations without attempting to interpret them.

NEWS STORY: It is a factual recording of current events, persons and places and appears in the newspaper or magazine; it answers the questions, “Who? What? When? Why? Where? How?”

EDITORIAL: an article in a newspaper or magazine that gives the editor’s or author’s point of view.

MEMOIR: Taken from a private diary or journal, it is the day-to-day record of events in a person’s life, written for personal use and pleasure. It tells of the people and events that the author has known or witnessed.

Week 7:

No notes

Week 8:

Poetry

POETRY is a patterned form of verbal or written expression of ideas in concentrated, imaginative and rhythmical terms. Poetry often contains rhyme and a specific meter, but not necessarily.

Key Terminology

CONCRETE: a concrete word refers to an object that can be heard. seen, felt, tasted, or smelled

ABSTRACT: a word or phrase that refers to an idea rather than a concrete object or thing

DENOTATION: the literal or dictionary meaning of a word

CONNOTATION: all the emotions or feelings associated with a word

IMAGERY: words or phrases which create a certain picture in the reader’s mind

TONE: The author’s attitude toward his audience and characters: serious, humorous, satiric, etc.

MOOD: The feeling a piece of literature evokes in the reader. happy, sad, peaceful, etc.

INVERSION: 1. a reversal of the normal word order of a sentence; 2. in verse, a reverse in the metrical pattern

REPETITION: reiterating a word or phrase within a poem

REFRAIN: the repetition of one or more phrases or lines at intervals in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza

Week 10

Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism

Introduction

Literary Criticism is a study of HOW people have analyzed literature. How do you understand a story? Do you consider the historical background? Do you consider the author’s biographical information? Do you look at it through the lens of psychology? Or analyze what it says about the roles of women? You can do all of these things or none of them! Here is a list of different types of literary criticism; they are simply lenses for analyzing good stories!!!

  • Historical criticism, also known as the historical-critical method or higher criticism, is a branch of literary criticism that investigates the origins of ancient texts in order to understand “the world behind the text”. While often discussed in terms of Jewish and Christian writings from ancient times, historical criticism has also been applied to other religious writings from various parts of the world and periods of history.The primary goal of historical criticism is to discover the text’s primitive or original meaning in its original historical context and its literal sense or sensus literalis historicus.
  • Biographical criticism is a form of Literary criticism which analyzes a writer’s biography to show the relationship between the author’s life and their works of literature.
  • Formalism or New Criticism–Coined in John Crowe Ransom’s The New Criticism (1941), this approach discourages the use of history and biography in interpreting a literary work. Instead, it encourages readers to discover the meaning of a work through a detailed analysis of the text itself. This approach was popular in the middle of the 20th century, especially in the United States, but has since fallen out of favor.
  • Reader-response criticism is a school of literary theory that focuses on the reader (or “audience”) and their experience of a literary work, in contrast to other schools and theories that focus attention primarily on the author or the content and form of the work. Reader-response critics hold that in order to understand a text, one must look to the processes readers use to create meaning and experience. Traditional text-oriented schools, such as formalism, often think of reader-response criticism as an anarchic subjectivism, allowing readers to interpret a text any way they want.
  • Deconstruction (1967–present): A philosophical approach to reading, first advanced by Jacques Derrida that attacks the assumption that a text has a single, stable meaning. Derrida suggests that all interpretation of a text simply constitutes further texts, which means there is no “outside the text” at all. Therefore, it is impossible for a text to have stable meaning. The practice of deconstruction involves identifying the contradictions within a text’s claim to have a single, stable meaning, and showing that a text can be taken to mean a variety of things that differ significantly from what it purports to mean.
  • Feminist criticism (1960s–present): An umbrella term for a number of different critical approaches that seek to distinguish the human experience from the male experience. Feminist critics draw attention to the ways in which patriarchal social structures have marginalized women and male authors have exploited women in their portrayal of them. Although feminist criticism dates as far back as Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and had some significant advocates in the early 20th century, such as Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, it did not gain widespread recognition as a theoretical and political movement until the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Psychoanalytic literary criticism is literary criticism or literary theory which, in method, concept, or form, is influenced by the tradition of psychoanalysis begun by Sigmund Freud.Psychoanalytic reading has been practiced since the early development of psychoanalysis itself, and has developed into a heterogeneous interpretive tradition. As Celine Surprenant writes, ‘Psychoanalytic literary criticism does not constitute a unified field. However, all variants endorse, at least to a certain degree, the idea that literature […] is fundamentally entwined with the psyche’.

(wikipedia and sparknotes–sorry)

Week 17–(January 16-20)

Forms of Poetry

Speaker–The voice that speaks to us, from the poem. The speaker of the poem is sometimes the poet, but it isn’t always the poet!

ELEGY: a poem that deals with the subject of death

ODE: a lyric poem written in an elevated tone about a serious topic

LIMERICK: a five-line nonsense poem with anapestic meter

Lyric Poem–A lyric poem expresses the speaker’s feelings or thoughts. It does not tell a story. Most lyric poems are short, like James Wright’s “A Blessing.” Lyric poems usually convey a single strong emotion.

Free Verse–Poetry that does not have regular meter or rhyme scheme is called free verse. Poets who write in free verse try to capture the natural rhythms of ordinary speech. Notice how E.E. Cummings arranges words on the page to create rhythm in his free verse poem, “in Just-”

Haiku–A haiku is a three line poem with seventeen syllables. Five each in lines 1 and 3, and seven in line 2.Haiku usually contrast two images from nature or daily life. They may also include a seasonal word or a moment of discovery.

Sonnet--A sonnet is a 14 line lyric poem. Like “Once By the Sea” by Robert Frost. Most sonnets are written in iambic pentameter and have a regular rhyme scheme.

ELIZABETHAN SONNET (ENGLISH OR SHAKESPEAREAN):

  • structure: fourteen lines. iambic pentameter
  • three quatrains, one couplet
  • rhyme scheme: ababcdcdefefgg

Usually, a question or theme is posed in the quatrains and answered or resolved in the couplet.

ITALIAN SONNET (PETRARCHAN):

  • structure: fourteen lines, iambic pentameter
  • octave and sestet
  • rhyme scheme: abbaabbacdcdcd or abbaabbacdecde Often a question is raised in the octave and answered in the sestet.

Catalog Poem–A catalog poem presents a list of many different images. Look at “The Car” by Raymond Carver for an example of how a catalog of images can create depth and intensity.

Ballad–A ballad is a song that tells a story. Ballads use a steady rhythm, strong rhymes and repetition.

Imagery–Imagery is one of a poet’s most useful tools. An image is a word or phrase that appeals to one or more of our five senses. An image can help us picture color or motion. Sometimes it helps us to imagine that we can hear a sound, feel a texture, smell an odor, or even taste something.

Sensory Details–elements that help you imagine how something looks, smells, sounds, feels, or tastes.

Figurative Language– expressions that put aside literal meanings in favor of imaginative connections. A figure of speech is based on a comparison that is not literally true. If your brother says, “I’m going to give you a piece of my mind,” you understand that he is using figurative language to make a point.

Similes–X IS LIKE Y. In a simile two things are compared using the words like, as, than or resembles. Here Robert Frost uses a simile to compare clouds to hair getting blown in someone’s face:

“The clouds were low and hairy in the skies

like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.”

(from “Once by the Pacific”)

In this poem, William Wordsworth creates a different simile using clouds:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

that floats on high o’er vales and hills.”

(from “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud”)

Metaphors–X IS Y. A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things, in which one is said to be another.  Unlike similes, metaphors do not contain a word such as like or as. For example, “You eat like a pig” is a simile. “You are a pig!” is a metaphor.

A metaphor can be direct or implied.

  • A direct metaphor directly compares two things by using a verb such as is.

“The days are nouns: touch them

The hands are churches that worship the world.”

(from “Daily” by Naomi Shihab Nye)

  • An implied metaphor implies or suggests a comparison between two things, rather than stating the comparison directly. The speaker in “Starfish” by Lorna Dee Cervantes looks at a colony of these animals and calls them, “hundreds, no –/ Thousands of baby stars.” The metaphor is indirect because she does not state that the starfish are baby stars; she just suggests that idea.

Personification–a type of metaphor where human qualities are given to something that is not human, such as an object, an animal, a force of nature, or even an idea. In this poem, the sea is personified as someone who is holding a person protectively.

“lie gently and wide to the light-year

stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.”

(from “First Lesson,” by Phillip Booth)

Here a person personifies twilight as a person springing quietly into a grassy field:

“Off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,

Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.”

(from “A Blessing,” by James Wright)

–Definitions from Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

 Week 18– (January 23-27)

RHYME: The similarity of sound existing between two words.

RHYME SCHEME: It is a pattern in end rhyme; the first sound is represented with an “a,” the second sound with a “b,” etc.

END RHYME: Similar sounds which occur at the end of two or more lines of verse.

INTERNAL RHYME: Similar sounds which occur between two or more words in the same line of verse (usually at the middle and end of the line).

APPROXIMATE RHYME (SLANT RHYME): two words that have some sounds in common but not enough to make them a perfect rhyme; often the words are spelled the same but pronounced differently.

ALTERNATING RHYME: a rhyme scheme in which the last word in every other line rhymes.

ALLITERATION: the repetition of the initial letter or sound in two or more words in a line of verse

ASSONANCE: the similarity or repetition of a vowel sound in two or more words in a line of verse

CONSONANCE: It is the repetition of consonant sounds within a line of verse. Consonance is similar to alliteration except consonance does not limit the repeated sound to the initial letter of a word; the repetition generally occurs at the ends of syllables.

ONOMATOPOEIA: the use of a word to represent or imitate natural sounds

STANZA: a division of a poem based on thought or form

METER: The pattern of stressed (accented) and unstressed (unaccented) syllables established in a line of poetry. (***ALSO, copy down the definition of Meter found on page 618 of the online textbook; it is very easy to understand).

TYPES OF METRICAL FEET:

  • IAMBIC FOOT ( u / ): two syllable foot–unstressed, stressed
  • TROCHAIC FOOT ( / u ): two syllable foot–stressed, unstressed
  • ANAPESTIC FOOT ( u u / ): three syllables–two unstressed and one stressed
  • DACTYLIC FOOT ( / u u ): three syllables–one stressed and two unstressed
  • SPONDAIC FOOT ( / / ): two syllables–both stressed

KINDS OF METRICAL LINES:

  • monometer. one-foot line
  • dimeter. two-foot line
  • trimeter. three-foot line
  • tetrameter. four-foot line
  • pentameter. five-foot line
  • hexameter. six-foot line
  • heptameter: seven-foot line
  •  octometer. eight-foot line

KEY: u = unstressed   / = stressed

Week 19-

Literary Focus–Sonnet

Robert Frost loved writing sonnets because he enjoyed the challenge of fitting his thoughts into  a very strict form.

Here are the rules to the sonnet:

  • It has fourteen lines
  • It follows a regular rhyme pattern
  • It is usually written in iambic pentameter

Iambic Pentameter

An iamb is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one (da DAH), as in the word before. Writing an iambic line isn’t as hard as you might think because the iamb is common in ordinary English speech:

“Amanda wore her favorite pair of jeans”

Listen to the rhythm.

Pentameter means that there are five stressed syllables, or beats, in each line–penta is Greek for “five,” and meter is Greek for “measure.” (Most poets us occasional variations to keep the rhythm from becoming monotonous. Her are lines from two sonnets written in iambic pentameter Read the lines aloud and listen to their beat:

download

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Image result for scanning iambic pentameter
Print this image and glue or tape it in your Literary Terms Notebook

 

Types of Sonnets

Petrarchan Sonnets

There are two traditional types of sonnets. In the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet the first eight lines (the octave) pose a problem, which is responded to in the last six lines (the sestet). Below is a Petrarchan Sonnet written by William Wordsworth, called “London, 1802”

Image result for petrarchan sonnet
Print this image and glue or tape  it in your Literary Terms Notebook

Notice the rhyme scheme. If you put a letter next to the last sound of each line, and find rhymes you will see that the rhyme scheme looks like this chart below:

Image result for petrarchan sonnet
Print this image and glue or tape it in your Literary Terms Notebook

Shakespearean Sonnets

The second type of sonnet it the English sonnet, or Shakespearean. This sonnet has three four-line quatrains followed by a 2 line couplet. Some modern poets, like Robert Frost, create their own types of sonnet.

Image result for shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme
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Image result for shakespearean sonnet structure
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Week 21–Sounds of Poetry

Other Sounds Singing

Rhyme and rhythm are not the only ways to create the sounds of poetry. Two other important techniques are the onomatopoeia and alliteration. The names may be difficult to say, the the techniques are easy to learn and use.

Onomatopoeia: Imitating Sounds

Onomatopoeia is the use of the words that sound like what they mean. We use onomatopoeia when we say a cannon “booms” or bacon “sizzles.” The words can echo a natural sound (hiss, slap, rumble, snarl, moan) or a mechanical sound (whack, clickety-clack, putt-putt, toot).

Alliteration: Repeating Sounds

Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sound in several words, usually at the beginning of the words: fragrant flowers, hot and heavy, dog days. Alliteration can also be the repetition of similar but not identical sounds: a series of p’s and b’s or s’s and z’s. The repetition of vowel sound is called assonance.

Alliteration and onomatopoeia can sometimes be used together to echo sounds. Here is another example from “The Raven.”:

The silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

The alliteration of “silken sad uncertain” and the onomatopoeia of “rustling” combine to imitate the sound that wind makes blowing past silk draperies. (Elements of Literature, 456).

I also noticed the assonance with the words “purple” and “curtain” in the quote from “The Raven,” as well.

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